A seared duck breast that eats like a steak
I have fallen in love with well prepared duck, and have been in pursuit of the perfect seared duck breast for a while now. There is a great little restaurant in my cute little town of Collinsville CT that always has a seared duck breast dish on the menu. The creative chef at Francesca’s Wine Bar and Bistro mixes things up and prepares it several different ways so I tend to try them all.
I’ve been working on, for what seems like forever, making my version at home to my families dismay… “Duck again.. really”?
Now they love it, as it is so good. The great thing about this dish is that it is really very simple and easy to make, although there is some attention to detail required to pull of the perfectly, crispy skin, seared duck breast finished to the right temperature. The inside should still be pink after it rests – like a medium rare steak.
It’s also an affordable protein for the level of fancy you get. I find mine at Stop n Shop for about $5 a serving and their Canadian Canard Duck Breast is cryo-vac sealed so they can stay in the fridge a few days until you are ready to impress your spouse for the perfect date night. Once you dial this in, it’s great for a small dinner party of four as well.
I have made this seared duck breast several ways and have included a Simple Keto Blueberry Gastrique option for the sauce below for those preferring a sans-wine alternative and a sweeter taste profile.
I always serve mine over a cauliflower mash with either Brussels Sprouts or a some other farm fresh, sauteed green. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds boneless duck breasts (4)
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Fresh ground Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Nutmeg - 1 clove, fresh grated
- 1/2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar - a good one
- 3/4 cup dry red wine - a wine worth drinking
- 1 tablespoon butter
- On a baking sheet, using a sharp knife, trim the excess edges of skin then cut a ¼-inch crosshatch pattern in the skin of each breast, being careful not to pierce the meat. Easiest to do this while the duck is cold.
- Skin-side down on the baking sheet, use a paring knife to remove the small white tendon that runs through each tenderloin if they are still attached to the breast. Find the vein that runs down the length of each breast and run your finger down the length of each vein. If any blood comes out, wipe it away with a paper towel.
- Season the flesh side of each breast with salt, pepper, and a healthy pinch of fresh grated nutmeg.
- Drizzle meat with few drops of the vinegar and lay a sprig of thyme down the length of each breast. Then flip the breast back over so skin side is facing up. Season skin side with generous pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Refrigerate uncovered, at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- Season both sides of the duck breast with a pinch of salt and pepper and place skin side down into heated medium-low frying pan.
- Place the thyme sprigs into the pan while breasts are searing, infusing the fat with the thyme. Patience is key here. You want to slowly sear the duck breasts on medium-low for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is brown and crispy. Every few minutes move the breasts around to ensure even browning. You also want to use a spoon to remove the majority of the fat in the pan as it renders out of the skin. Have a bowl next to the stove for this.
- Once the skin is very crispy and the internal temperature of the breasts is about 115 degrees, flip the breasts over and just "kiss" the flesh side to the pan for about 60 seconds.
- Put the duck skin side down on a baking sheet and put into 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until internal temperature is about 125 degrees.
- Remove duck breasts from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove remaining fat from pan, leaving thyme sprigs, and place over medium heat. Pour in 3/4 cup of dry red wine and scrape up all the delicious browned bits with a wooden spoon, stirring into the wine. Let wine come to a simmer and let reduce to about 1/3 of cup. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- After resting, slice duck breasts on a diagonal into 3 slices. Plate slices onto each plate on top of a cauliflower mash and a green veggie of your choice.
- Spoon the red wine sauce over the duck and serve.
- Some of the calculated macros seem to be off a bit per serving.
- Each serving should be approx: Fat: 43 grams / Protein: 40 grams
- 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest
- Place all the ingredients in small sauce pan on low heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until sauce thickens and reduces to about 1/4 cup.
- The sweetness will come from the berries and balsamic so pick ones that are sweet.
These Keto Zucchini Fritters are about as close as I’m ever gonna get to a low-carb version of one of my childhood favs – the potato latke. Sour cream with chives or creme fresh are still in but a little tzatziki can be a nice tweak to switch things up.
This is the perfect side dish in place of potatoes or if you are just cauliflower’d out.
These would also be a great base for a low-carb eggs Benedict on a lazy weekend morning. These Keto Zucchini Fritters are so good the kids will even like them. These will be especially good in summer with local farm fresh zucchinis but you can get good ones all year round.
- 2.5 cups zucchini, grated
- 1/3 cup almond flour or coconut flour or a mix of both
- 2 scallions, chopped fine
- 1/4 small onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1.5 tsp. Pepper, fresh ground
- 1 tsp. salt
- Grate the zucchini on a box grater - medium grate.
- Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Mix the zucchini gently to distribute the salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the zucchini out with your hands and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs and scallion to the zucchini and mix together.
- In a small bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Add them to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.
- Heat oils in a medium to large pan over medium - high heat.
- Oil should completely cover the bottom surface of the pan.
- When the oil is hot, stir the zucchini mixture one more time and dip a ¼ cup measuring cup into the batter, level off. Dump the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula.
- Cook for four minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then flip, cooking for another four minutes. Add more oil to the pan if needed to prevent sticking.
- Salt then drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.
A roasted eggplant caponata that is simple to make and always a crowd pleaser.
I always buy eggplant this time a year as there are so many varieties available especially at local farm stands and markets. Be sure to pick fresh ones that are heavy and solid to the tap. This roasted eggplant caponata recipe really delivers a great flavor that goes well as side dish or an app. You can serve it with cucumbers to keep it really low carb or you can splurge with some lower carb pita chips shown below.
- 1 large eggplant - 3/4 inch diced, skin on
- 1 cup red onion - halved then sliced thin
- 1/2 cup green olives - pitted, sliced in quarters length-wise
- 1 cup fresh fennel bulb - coarse diced
- 1/3 cup capers - rinsed
- 1 cup tomato sauce - good quality jared or substitute with 4 ripe tomatoes - chopped coarse
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped coarse
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Toss eggplant in 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large bowl.
- Arrange eggplant single layer on a baking sheet and roast until browned, flipping halfway through, about 25 minutes. Let cool down.
- Cook fennel in bowling water for 4 minutes, drain and let cool - set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat.
- Add onion and cook till just golden about 5 min.
- Add the olives, capers, reserved fennel, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently stir in the eggplant, being careful not break up the eggplant.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl or platter and cool.
- Garnish with parsley and serve cold or at room temperature.
- Can be made ahead a few days and gets better with age.
I often have trouble figuring out what to do with all the eggplants I buy. I mean how many eggplant parm-like dishes can one eat? This roasted eggplant caponata appetizer has become a welcome addition to the happy hours at my house and should at yours as well.